Perfect in Heart leads to Perfect in the Way.
'Blessed are they that are perfect in the way,
Who walk in the law of the Lord.
Blessed are they that keep His testimonies,
That seek Him with the whole heart.'
—Ps. cxix. 1, 2. 'Let my heart be perfect in Thy testimonies.'
—Ps. cxix. 80. 'I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. Oh! when wilt Thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.'
—Ps. ci. 2.
'E have seen what Scripture says of the perfect heart: here it speaks of the perfect walk. 'Blessed are the perfect in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.' These are the opening words of the beautiful psalm, in which there is given us the picture, from the witness of personal experience, of the wonderful blessedness of a life in the law and the will of God. As he looks back upon the past, the Psalmist does not hesitate to claim that he has kept that law: 'I have kept Thy testimonies;' 'I have observed Thy law;' 'I forsook not Thy precepts ;' 'I have not turned aside from Thy judgments;' 'I have done judgment and justice;' 'I have not swerved from Thy testimonies;' 'I have done Thy commandments;' 'My soul hath observed Thy testimonies.' Of a truth may the man who can look up to God and, in simplicity of soul, speak thus, say, 'How blessed are the perfect in the way!'
What is meant by this being 'perfect in the way' becomes plain as we study the psalm. Perfection includes two elements. The one is the perfection of heart, the earnestness of purpose, with which a man gives himself up to seek God and His will. The other, the perfection of obedience, in which a man seeks, not only to do some, but all the commandments of his God, and rests content with nothing less than the New Testament privilege of 'standing perfect in all the will of God.' Of both the Psalmist speaks with great confidence. Hear how he testifies of the former in words such as these: 'Blessed are they that seek Him with the whole heart;'
With my whole heart have I sought Thee;' 'With my whole heart shall I observe Thy law;' 'I will keep Thy precepts with my whole heart;' 'Thy law is my delight;' '0 how love I Thy law!' 'Consider how I love Thy precepts;' 'I love them exceedingly.' This is indeed the perfect heart of which we have already heard. The whole psalm is a prayer, and an appeal to God Himself to consider and see how His servant in whole-hearted simplicity has chosen God and His law as his only portion.8
We have more than once said that in this whole-heartedness, in the perfect heart, we have the root of all perfection.
But it is only the root and beginning: there is another element that may not be wanting. God is to be found in His will; he who would truly find and fully enjoy God, must meet Him in all His will. This is not always understood. A man may have his heart intent on serving God perfectly, and yet may bo unconscious how very imperfect his knowledge of God's will is. The very earnestness of his purpose, and his consciousness of integrity towards God, may deceive him. As far as he knows, ho does God's will. But he forgets how much there is of that blessed will that he does not yet know. He can learn a very blessed lesson from, the writer of our psalm.
Hear how he speaks: 'I have refrained my feet from every evil way;' 'I hate every false way;' 'I esteem all Thy precepts concerning all things to be right.' It is this surrender to a life of entire and perfect obedience that explains at once the need he felt of Divine teaching, and the confidence with which he pleaded for it and expected it: 'Let my heart be perfect in Thy testimonies.' The soul that longs for nothing less than to be perfect in the way, and in deep consciousness of its need of a Divine teaching pleads for it, will not be disappointed.
In our next meditation we pass on to the New Testament. In the Old we have the time of preparation, the awakening of the spirit of holy expectancy, waiting God's fulfilment of His promises. In the Old the perfect heart was the vessel, emptied and cleansed for God's filling. In the New we shall find Christ perfected for evermore, perfecting us, and fitting us to walk perfect in Him. In the New the word that looks at the human side, perfect in heart, disappears, to give place to that which reveals the Divine filling that waits the prepared vessel: Perfect Love; God's love perfected in us.
'Blessed are the perfect in the way!' Wo have heard the testimony of an Old Testament saint, and is it not written of New Testament times, 'He that is feeble shall be as David 1' Surely now, in the fulness of time, when Jesus our High Priest in the power of an endless life saves completely, and the Holy Spirit has come out of God's heaven to dwell within us and lie our life,—surely now there need not be one word of the psalm that is not meant to be literal truth in the mouth of every believer. Let us read it once more. Speaking it word for word before God, as its writer did, we too shall begin to sing, 'Blessed are the perfect in the way, that seek Him with the whole heart.'
'I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way.
Oh! when wilt Thou come unto me!
I will walk within my house with a perfect